On the frontier of medical pot to treat boy’s epilepsy

By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times


A U.S. crackdown on pot shops threatens a father’s search for cannabidiol in hopes of halting his son’s seizures from Dravet syndrome.

Photos: To treat son's epilepsy, a father turns to medical marijuana
MODESTO —Topamax. Depakote. Phenobarbital. The list goes on. Before Jayden David turned 5, he had tried a dozen powerful medications to tame a rare form of epilepsy. The side effects were devastating.
There were grand mal seizures that lasted more than an hour. Hundreds of times a day, muscle twitches contorted his impish face.
“If he wasn’t sleeping, he was seizing,” said Jayden’s father, Jason David.
Feeling helpless, David said, he contemplated suicide. He prayed. Then one day he heard about a teenager who was expelled from school for using marijuana to help control seizures.
So began the pair’s journey into California’s medical cannabis culture.
In the 14 months since, the little boy has been swallowing droppers full of a solution made mostly of cannabidiol, or CBD, the second most prominent of marijuana’s 100 or so cannabinoids. Unlike the dominant THC, cannabidiol is not psychoactive, so the sweet-tasting infusion Jayden takes four times a day doesn’t make him high.
Down from 22 prescription pills per day to four, he now eats solid food, responds to his father’s incessant requests for kisses and dances in his Modesto living room to the “Yo Gabba Gabba!” theme song. The frequency and intensity of his seizures have been greatly reduced.
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